*Update -- It was 9:44. This is me recapping a little project called Mission De-Paci which took place a couple of weeks ago, and despite shortening a few naps here and there, has gone splendidly. That night Cowboy noted that I should have live tweeted/blogged the event. Ha!
Back to the post, a post which I could have titled "How to Lose a Paci in Three Days" and give you all sorts of wonderful advice for this process. That, my friends, would be a hoax because I think our efforts had nothing to do with it. The Sheriff reacted as he did and other children may or may not do the same. Regardless, this is how it went down.
It's 9:44 pm. And there is no noise coming from The Sheriff's room. No noise coming from the monitor.
Granted, it has been like that for the past 45 minutes. Silent.
Before that though, there were 45 minutes of tearful "Mommas" coming from behind closed door number 1 preceded by me walking out of the room to grab a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich (cookies and cream) and a glass of my favorite red wine.
Funny that this whole pacifier idea started and ended in my tears. I still remember the night, oh about 22 months ago, when I was at my motherhood's wit's end because I did not know how to help W get some rest and gather a few Zs myself. Breastfeeding mothers are told not to use a pacifier for a month to avoid nipple confusion and by all means, I didn't want that horror right! I recall my tear-stained, sleep-deprived face telling Cowboy, "I'm just going to do it. I don't care. I'm giving him a paci!" And that we did.
How handsome is he right? This isn't right when we started using the pacifier but a decent picture I found. Apparently we use the world's strangest pacis because we always got comments on how odd these were. I don't know. I just grabbed a few different ones from the store and tried one out.
At some point I guess we used another kind because I found this lovely picture as evidence. Oh, Sheriff, with the deer-in-headlights look already!
Then we did what all parents end up doing and threw several pacifiers in the crib at night and watched in awe on the video monitor while he found one our conveniently placed, we-don't-have-to-get-up-to-get-it, little suckers of comfort.
I don't have many recent pictures of him with a pacifier because he just used it for sleeping and to save our sanity on long car trips to the homeland and back. Back to the story. The hour had come. Momma had to put on her big girl panties and make this happen.
In my head it would have been great for J to be the one to take on that first nighttime routine without it, but W has been a little Momma happy lately for bedtime. so it would have to be me to avoid any more drama. He was down to 2 pacis which he deemed blue one, green one--genius I know. I snipped the end of the blue one the day before and he didn't seem to mind but wanted to have the green one in his mouth and hold the other. He'd been doing that for a while now.
I really wanted to wait until he was old enough to understand trading them in or sending them to some new baby or cousin who would need them or throwing them away himself because he was now a big boy. Those concepts mean nothing at this point, and we decided we were just going to go for the gusto!
The evening came and I snipped that green one as well. Yes, I do realize they can choke on the plastic if they bite it off, but he doesn't bite his pacis and in my plan I also realized that I would not allow him to sleep with these broken pacifiers overnight. He just needed to know that they didn't work.
All went fine when he realized they were broken. He just wanted to hold both of them. I thought this wouldn't be a problem. He could go to sleep and I'd sneak into his room and grab them when he was knocked out and wow, this was going to be simple.
At 8:00, the time he's normally slipping off to dreamland in his bed, we were on our third reading of The Little Blue Truck, a book we've since purchased since our library copy is so beloved.
He kept closing his eyes, pacis in both hands and then look at me and say, "Momma." It was the sweetest but most heartbreaking thing ever. He knew something was awry but could not verbalize it. He had his pacis in his hands so he couldn't ask for them. And he was trying to be so brave, so very brave.
We held Harold (the helicopter from Thomas).
Momma held Harold.
We wanted Harold back.
We got "cold milk" and read The Little Blue Truck again.
All was done holding both green and blue one in his hands. Finally he closed his eyes while I rocked him, and again I thought, this is so easy. Not so fast, my friends. The minute I'd put him in the bed, his hands would instinctively put those pacifiers in his mouth, and of course, they were broken so he was upset. We went through this 3 times when I realized that the pacis had to go. We put them on the table in his room. Rookie mom mistake!
Come on! He knows they are in the room! At this point he wouldn't even let me hold him in consolation, so I did what any gotta-lose-this-paci mother would do and brushed them on the floor with my hand then kicked them behind the door so I could turn on the lights and show him they were gone. Simply gone. I felt terrible, but it worked.
Sort of worked. He wasn't having and cuddling or rocking any more so I kissed him goodnight, told him how much we loved him, and walked out of the door. Cue the "Momma" cries, ice cream sandwich, and wine.
He cried for about 45 minutes. We weren't going to let it go past an hour, but at that moment, he stopped crying and stood there, yes, just stood there silent, in his crib for another 45 minutes. He made no noise; he made no attempt to escape. It was the most bizarre thing and had us cracking up while watching him in the monitor. Sorry, W, if you read this later, We weren't laughing at you. Ok, we were, but you were being too funny.
After 45 minutes, he made a small noise, and curled up in that cute baby's butt in the air sleeping pose and drifted away. He slept through the night. I wrote that correctly--through the night!
I was so worried he'd wake up looking for his pacifier, but has not one time since we've gotten rid of it. So interesting since when he had them, he would cry if he couldn't find one in his bed.
Anyway, the second night was the same routine (without all of my attempts to appease him first) and he cried only 30 minutes or so and stood up for 30 minutes or so. The third night was normal. In fact, the morning of the 3rd day he said "bye bye paci" on his own and we were like, "yep."
He's been such a brave little boy, and we are so very proud! Cold turkey worked for us, and I'm so glad that I snipped and threw away all of them, so as a mother I had no temptations. Heck, if I had one in the house I would have broken it out this morning during an hour long tantrum that a paci would have resolved in minutes!
I've got to give a little shout-out to W's Nanny (Godmother not caregiver) who was so proud of him as well and sent him a little gift for being such a big boy. I'm certain that he did not get the correlation (and I wasn't going to mention the word "paci" again for dang sure!), but he was so excited to check the mail after his nap and the gift made momma's heart smile too!
Mission De-Paci (The Short Version) for people like Michelle.
1. Pick the right timing for you and your child, and if you pick a weekend, then change your mind, that's ok. We did say we'd try about a month ago and I'm so glad we waited. We have needed it since then!
2. Do some research and ask around for ideas. Decide on your method and follow through. Cold turkey worked great for us!
3. Be brave and have support via your spouse, family, or friends if a child crying your name breaks your heart.
4. Ice cream sandwiches and wine work wonders. And heck, share some ice cream (not your wine, folks) with your little person the next day!